This is a copy/paste (with formatting removed) of an actual thread in a channel named #post-wokeness in a discussion server called “Metagenesis.”
Its founder and admin, just 3 weeks prior, is” GonzoEthicist.” I am “BenjaminW.”
https://youtu.be/m7A-YbEm2Fk A lot of frustration expressed from several people in this dialogue about how the outputs of Critical Theory are US-centric and deeply biased to assume American cultural priors.
Thing is, we already had a great narrative about race. Then critical race theory walked us back to the stone age
Its entirely culturally fabricated. There is no scientific basis for genetic race
It’s been used to define and separate people for millennia. But the concept of race is not grounded in genetics.
Wokeness made strides that scientific realism could not.
We can’t put it back in its bag
Transcend and Include
Let me put it a different way: The part of wokeness that is legit is compatible with science The part that is a dangerous mind virus is that which contradicts science fully and thus creates a dangerous bubble reality
Well yeah. The Kafka Traps cannot survive. They’re just generating a huge out-group.
I usually refer to these as zombie theories A zombie theory is a theory which is already scientifically obsolete, but because it is believable it gives people a sense of magical realism. They think they have discovered magic ….beliefs that directly transcend mundane reality. But what they really discovered was an unsustainable illusion that does more harm than good…. its a walking dead theory that creates animated corpses of dead ideas. A zombie theory turns people into animated corpses thst shuffle about, trying to operate on a false reality …and then getting aggressive when they encounter any resistance or logical impossibilities(edited)
Woke critical theory is all zombie. It’s all falsifiable.
Woke culture is somewhat viable though , if not drenched directly in critical theory…because it draws on progressive values, which are not zombie(edited)
August 16, 2020
My recollection is that you actually want something to be “falsifiable” – that to be falsifiable means that something is logically capable of being disproven, and is therefore a legitimate theory. I think what you mean to say is that critical theory is not falsifiable.
Regardless, I’d like to put a stake in the ground for critical theory as being valid and useful in some contexts. Like everything else, too much of it, taken out of context, is a bad thing, and can be a dangerous thing. But it seems to me that unless you plan to proclaim that the works of Foucault and Derrida and Lyotard (et. all) are some sort of forbidden knowledge that must be locked away lest it corrupt the minds of the young, then it is in fact better to say that they have raised challenges and questions which must be addressed, and then to address them.
Ironically, to try to throw out post-modernists and post-structuralists as not even being worth engaging with smacks of … oh, what’s the word I’m looking for? … cancel culture.
This is a great topic for future video chat discussion, Benjamin
Nobody is trying throw out intellectual history (at least I’m not). Postmodernism was an accurate description of peoples thoughts at a place in time History is moving past that phase. Thats pretty clear.
@GonzoEthicist Right, “moving past”. That’s why I tend to be careful with my language in not rejecting postmodernist studies, but rather pointing at frames in which we say, effectively, “we learned good things with these critiques but they were never meant to become systems in their own right.”
Anyway, the point about the conversation I posted above was not about rejecting anything, but rather pointing out a perspective and narrative I hadn’t considered before, the fact that CRT and the like base their conclusions about race relations on presuppositions that come primarily from American history.
I apologize if I sound polarizing That is not my style But often what sounds like political polemics in my speech isn’t political at all.
I’m an academic. So my declarations use jargon terms. My jargon is sometimes incompatible with other jargon from other social theories. I qdmit that my unbalance is i chose one side in an epic jargon war in social acience. My debates are usually are meant to be technically valid and educational from a jargon perspective of one camp .
Along the lines of what @nthmost said, I want to emphasize that I don’t regard “critical theory” as being only an intellectual artifact worth remembering for historical purposes. I think that it was/is important because it raised useful and challenging issues that require actual answers. Issues like “How does power operate in unseen and unacknowledged ways, and who does that exclude?” are obviously relevant. Questions like “How do we generate a meaningful discourse without resorting to oppressive habits we’re internalized” are practical. The problem with post-modernism isn’t that it raised these questions, the problem is that it never came up with substantive answers.
That’s a huge failing – but it’s precisely that challenge that we (in the most encompassing sense of the term, as we as us specifically) need to be able to address if we want to move past it. I think that dismissing post-modernism as irrelevant guarantees that it will haunt us. Being able to meaningfully answer its questions is what will allow us to move past it into the intellectual future. And since that’s the case, understanding its questions is not wasted time.
Being able to say (as the video Naomi posted does) “hey, actually, much of the critical discourse happening within the academy is pretty parochial and actually ignores the discourses of the very people it’s intended to help” is, I think, an example of how to effectively engage.
Disclaimer: I haven’t read this yet. Been seeing it making the rounds. https://whitehotharlots.tumblr.com/post/621555436263522304/privilege-theory-is-popular-because-it-is?fbclid=IwAR3_f5JJ8OUB53WG32v6lvZP-4dy5ADS6BeMtlyuxDipyvijRpDll9rZoXc
I slightly disagree, Benjamin, but forspecific reasons … i do agree it was a necessary stepping stone.
1) pomo isn’t critical theory …crit theory is a separate sub area of theory …. mainstream pomo scholarship , minus Derrida and Lacan, is solid stuff…. Up to the point that it made terrible projections about what happens after late capitalism. It turns out late capitalism was merely the age of 5th paradigm technology… the 6th paradigm 2021-2070 isn’t the end of capitalism. Its the end of simple large systems. Complexity replaces radical subjectivity.
2) critical race/gender theory can be directly falsified ..and that is the main problem…its own theories have failed, not only in producing solutions, but in describing reality. Its the university’s biggest loser in identifying hard causality. All things considered, it is objectively a failed academic enterprise.
3) Not all critique is critical theory. There’s a lot of valuable critique in social science and the humanities that have nothing to do with critical theory itself. The short: you don’t need to know a lick of critical theory to do good critique. It’s certainly useful to know pomo though.
3) I prefer postcolonial theory, which is an alternative perspective on power, race, and gender. It doesn’t call anyone fundamentally evil or racist or sexist. It doesn’t blame Europeans uniquely, but targets all political empires globally that are violent usurpers. It doesn’t wrongly reinterpret history and relies on solid evidence for every claim made, not wordplay. It even exonerated much of Europe relative to the brutality of regimes that it interfaced with… (most European countries were kinder to their colonial subjects than their local fascists were , post enlightenment…) and it helped clarify exact sequences of events that crit theory totally ignores.
If one must choose a reinterpretation of history from a critical perspective I would suggest the post colonial interpretation…(edited)
4th im a theorist myself of social science. I am personally in the other mainstream canon that is a rival to *critical * perspectives.
My camp uses neo-institutional economics and temporal neo-georgist, cognitive, complex systems, integral, postanalytic philosophy, and Neo-Schumpeterian perspectives, which provide completely different explanations for why history unfolds as it does …
So on principle I categorically reject the entire body of critical theory as being obsolete in the face of neo institutional type thinking. In other words we have a science for everything that they have a subjective theory for….. And our science directly falsifies their theories of causality in history. On the other hand, social critique is as important as ever!!!! But it needs different grounding in metaperspectives.(edited)
My suggestion is that mainstream pomo be given respect and included in a metamodern view, but that crit theory, specifically, is a quasi religious perspective with specific, wrong claims that need countering, and at best it is only an accurate report of an ethnography of false beliefs…. It is a form of propaganda for raising a tribal war against all civilization.(edited)
Okay, so … lots to discuss here … and I regret to say that this might be one of the very few discussions that actually benefits from a careful definition of terms. Because at this point I’m honestly not sure who you’re referring to when we talk about “critical theory.”
When we began, I assumed – and this error is totally on me – that we were using the term broadly. In most contexts “critical theory” is used interchangeably with a lot of its close cousins and descendants in post-modernism, feminist theory, and even some post-colonial theory. There are rarely clear lines drawn around this being “critical theory” and that being “deconstruction.” But clearly that’s not how you were using the terms because you’re saying that “critical theory” is “a tribal war against all civilization” while “mainstream post-modernism” is mostly “solid stuff.” So okay, obviously I was reading your critique much too broadly.
But based on that critique, I can’t figure out who you’re narrowing “critical theory” down to. I mean, the most reductive approach would be to just say “The Frankfurt School.” Those guys came up with it, they made it, they were the first people to use the term for themselves. So when we talk about “critical theory” we’re definitely talking about the Frankfurt School and one could suggest that when we talk about other people we’re talking about something else. That, I think, would be too strict to be practical (ideas don’t really work that way) but it would be a clear, meaningful, and even rational distinction to clearly indicate who we’re talking abou
But if that’s the case … I can’t really match your critique to those specific people. I mean, you say their theories failed to predict reality … but these were the guys who were saying for decades that a Donald Trump like figure was inevitable for America if it didn’t clean up its capitalism. A 2016 New Yorker headline read “The Frankfurt School Knew Trump Was Coming.” A 2020 LA Review of Books article contends “Much, in fact, has been made of late of the prescience of the Frankfurt School in anticipating the rise of populist nationalism in general and Donald Trump in particular.” Before I get too clever about this, I should acknowledge that in 2018 I myself wrote a piece saying that the Frankfurt School wasn’t all THAT prophetic, really, so if you want to say they were wrong about some stuff I’m obviously right there with you. But clearly they got SOMETHING right. Theodor Adorno was absolutely a colossal asshole and his writing about Jazz is some of the worst music criticism since some early caveman decided that this “rhythm” thing was corrupting the youth, and never going to catch on. But … but … Adorno was also one of the most insightful voices on the mechanisms by which capitalism appropriates its ideological enemies. Which … again … is not only spot on the money but very predictive.
Your comments that Critical Theory is all about subjective reasoning makes me ask “what about Max Horkheimer?” Horkheimer, an early leader of the Frankfurt School and therefore surely at the heart of a strict definition of “critical theory,” was explicitly concerned about the move from “objective” reason to “subjective” reason to “instrumental” reason. Now, he wasn’t in favor of a naive objectivism – in fact, he considered that to be the path straight to a kind of superstitious instrumental reason concerned only with wielding power over others (which I think is an excellent point), and I don’t know that he meant the same thing by “subjective” as you do (reason, after all, must be grounded in the experience of the thinker), but he was obviously, overtly, concerned about the tendency of subjective thinking to lead to irrationality and totalitarianism. So, again, one of the major thinkers in Critical Theory seems relevant and predictive today, and not someone I recognize in your critique of the field.
And I’m really, really, confused when it comes to Habermas, the youngest member of the OG Frankfurt School who, until his recent passing, was the elder statesman of Critical Theory: because, come on, his work is explicitly about how to create healthy pluralistic societies in a time of epistemological relativism. Now I personally do not generally sign on to Habermas’ approach, but it’s very definitely an effort to be practical, realistic, and rational in pursuit of a better society.
So … if these are the guys you’re talking about … well … I just don’t see how most of your critique applies. Because what you’re saying seems to me to have very little to do with the actual work they produced. It’s not that they never said anything stupid (again, Adorno’s critique of jazz is just foul). But I’d suggest that, “Dialectic of Enlightenment,” say, actually holds up pretty well. How is its premise – that society is headed to disaster because: nature is dominated by human beings, nature is dominated within human beings, and some people dominate others – not relevant to what we want to talk about today? How is their contention that freedom of the individual must be connected to the pursuit of enlightenment in culture not exactly what we’re on about in this forum?
And, not to put too fine a point on it, but most of these guys, far from being enemies of civilization, were Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany whose primary goal (quite prescient, in hindsight) was to keep American capitalism from turning into a fascist state. They were wrong about a lot of things, sometimes in ways that drive me crazy. They were very definitely playing at being mandarins of high culture in a way that put them at odds with the American temperament and was obnoxious to boot. But they were on our side. They were the people who had their lives and livelihoods utterly uprooted when the real enemies of civilization in their time came to power. They didn’t all make it – Walter Benjamin, most famously, never escaped occupied Europe. Let’s please not make holocaust refugees out to be the same kind of sinister forces they were running from.
If you tell me now “no no no, I’m not talking about THOSE guys when I go after critical theory,” that would make perfect sense to me. Because while they are literally THE critical theory guys, I just don’t see them in what you’re saying. But then I honestly don’t know who you are talking about. Because the narrow view of “critical theory” doesn’t fit your critique, but neither does the expansive one that I’d originally assumed you were using. So before we get into the weeds here, can I ask you to clarify: when you go that hard after “critical theory,” who specifically are you talking about, and what body of work are you referring to?
Because clearly I have not figured that out from context.(edited)
There’s a counter-wokeness trend where you just say “I hate Critical Theory” and we all sort of imagine how we’ll burn all the Critical Theory papers and books and just sort of pretend that never happened.
This is an improvement over the previous counter-wokeness trend headed up by such luminaries as David Foster Wallace, who assert that postmodernism was a mistake and irony is bad, and we’re just going to pretend like multiperspectivalism is something we can safely ignore.
We’re all making this up as we go along (civilization, i mean; Meaning itself, i mean), so I really think we should be listening to improv performers more. The first rule of improv is Yes, And
We’re never going to get anywhere telling people that their way of seeing things is wrong. We have to build on what’s being offered to us.
“Critical Race Theory?” Yes, And have you considered that your theory is entirely predicated on American history, and that it implicitly leaves out the lived experiences of literally billions of people who weren’t part of that story? I expect you’ll want to go back and make a few revisions, perhaps?
Great, so while you’re off-stage getting a few more costumes, we’ll continue the justice story by putting a few multi-racial performers on the spot with some rude but funny prompts about what it’s like to not fit in anywhere.(edited)
I totally agree with the first rule of improv. We were using that in our call on Sunday actually.
This is a unique situation
This is like one person saying that gravity is a myth and another person’s witness they have empircal evidence from hard science.
On my honor as q scientist I can’t play the alternative facts game when it comes to explanations of reality.
There are certain sorts of facts that simply are false
However I already explained to you that postcolonial theory is a more robust and more objective use of critical studies of history…thats the improv rule… I’ll work with people on postcolonial theory.(edited)
My claim is this: If ceitical race theory deserves scientific respect, show me which part of it does. I’ll show you a better theory that already answers those questions more directly and without claiming that gravity doesn’t exist …(edited)
Do you give Qanon scientific credibility? Neither do I. Its thst bad from my point of view. Qqnon qnd critical race theoru are close to equivalent in terms of toxicity and objective falsehood
I really can’t point at another body of theroy in today’s Academia that is as factually inconsistent Its the only one(edited)
Also I will work with people on queer theory as well . Queer theory has some serious contributions
I’m not being vague. This is a specific body of theory that was absolutely irrelevant to the work of most great black American theorists …. There is no need to give this line of inquiry the same status as, say, classic Black American Studies.(edited)
In postcolonial theory, its not whiteness thst causes colonialism, its ideology.
For example, Scottish sailors with no interest in dominating dark people were employed by British colonials….alongside dark minorities. They didn’t view white people as inherently superior in colonial activities. Ideology not skin color was dividing line In critical race theory, its whiteness itself.
Objectively speaking there should be no debate on this issue whatsoever. There was no universal concept of whiteness during colonialism . That narrative was made up by 20th century critics, mostly Africans . It simply is objectively false.
However there was a dominant colonial politic and it caused what happened(edited)
I was educated in anthropology and our department did not recognize critical race or gender theory as legitimate.. they were considered unorthodox and potentially dangerous versions of critique at the time. but we taught postcolonial theory, postfeminism, queer theory, african studies,, women’s studies,, the Boaz/Mead tradition, Neo-Marxust structural analysis, and evolutionary rheoey.(edited)
Apparently mainstream postvolonial theory wasn’t good enough…a radical group for students simply insisted its ideas were legit. Without even having a clear sense of what they were talking about, and ignored the entite body of anthropology.
Qanon and CRT are alike also in that they are not scientific (they don’t purport to be) and thus aren’t critiquable that way.
Honestly I don’t really understand the postures above. CRT is being pointed at as a standard because enough people have decided to point at it. What I’m suggesting is that we say, “yay good job, you made a thing! That’s really sweet of you to make a thing for us. It appears, though, to have some problems. Some people are very sad because it has these problems. I know you don’t want to make people sad, so I hope you will keep working on your thing until the whole world is happy. Which was the point of your thing, i think, yes? OK great, we’ll see you in a few years.”
And then we can talk about something else until CRT is effectively obsolete because no one is pointing at it.
Like, just so we are perfectly clear, it doesn’t matter to me one bit what’s “proven” or “scientific”, because that doesn’t matter one iota as per how the world is being affected by ideologies. It doesn’t matter!
It’s not some collection of academic papers that is causing the rise of race essentialism in the name of social justice. It’s the failure of liberalism to achieve social justice that is catalyzing the leveraging of Whatever Power Happens To Be Lying Around.
So I find it to be a complete nonsequitur to deal with Wokeness Syndrome by calling its antecedents unscientific. Of course they’re unscientific! How does that help anyone contend with Wokeness Syndrome in their immediate community?
Calling out CRT as unscientfiic is about as useful a critique as informing Florida that not wearing a mask is causing the spread of coronavirus.
Its useful to everyone who doesn’t know the difference betweeen postcolonial theory and CRT, for example.
I just explained the difference to my mother today. She was grateful
In fact, this might become a week long Facebook rant of mine
Oh sure, to people who are receptive and curious, sure.
Oh, im not trying to convert anyone at the moment . I agree this isn’t the best way to convert true believer. But I’m not sure what is. ..(edited)
Still, I believe that driving a wedge between theory A and theory B can break the illusion there are no choices here
But that’s what I’m kinda getting at, no one’s “choosing” a theory in communities. People are mostly selecting collections of concepts from a social justice candy jar and handing them out to people like Power Candy.
If anyone wants some deeper reading, i have academic papers.
One explains how CRT predictions are backwards from the body of evidence. CRT does try to predict, Naomi… they started by hypothesized legal outcomes ….
For example, one CRT writer claimed she was shocked when she saw that black dolls were sold a dollar cheaper, despite being otherwise identical… (pressure to want to be white).
But according to economic theory, this is a form of economic welfare surplus, which offsets a cultural disadvantage. self identifying as black saves you an extra dollar that you can leverage as extra economic power….to offset lower wages. So, any black person that earns above average wages but identifies black has the largest comparative advantage of any person on the market. Only below average black earners are thusly trapped by a lower wage, low price economic situation. Its the bottom half of the black community that is most injured.
The lower prices should be equivalent to the lower wages that black people were earning, or else it’s pure profit… if prices are lower than wages!!! Relative to earnings, the prices of black identity products were lower to reflect the lower purchasing power of their group, because that’s how marketing segmentation works.
Buying a white doll is a pricey status purchase for blacks but for whites its an economic disadvantage. This asymmetry of status effects is a fundamental proof that CRT is wrong ..that power relationships are asymmetrical . “Intersectional axes of oppression” , a theory of symmetrical power relationships between oppressor and oppressed, is fundamentally false, qnd postcolonialism already got there first with power assymetry. According to market theory, a cultural inequity causes an economic tilt that favors the disadvantaged. prices are lower on the poor side of town, reducing the relative value of money for wealthy. Wealthy status is a pressure that constantly erodes unless you chase it.
Interestingly the pink tax runs the opposite direction…because women have more spending and purchasing power than men, and pink status is more valuable (exotic capital is higher for women, and thus is a pricier status ). Again, power assymetry and conplex poweer relationships due to men having some higher risk taking capital ….but women having much higher erotic capital
I’m in firm agreement with Naomi when it comes to tactical approaches, to how (and whether and when) to have these conversations.
To quickly come back around to the questions I was asking before: so, it seems that there is no objection to “critical theory” itself – that nobody sees the Frankfurt School or its direct offshoots as a plot to destroy civilization. And instead the objections are to “Critical Race Theory,” which is a distant offshoot with its own pedagogy, history, and influences. Is that correct? Is that what the objections have actually been raised too? If so, I’d like to ask once again that some specific scholars or bodies of work be referenced. I’d like to look at actual texts and claims, rather than be told about how bad and unscientific those (waves hands in a vague direction) people are. I get how much you don’t like them, @GonzoEthicist, but telling me over and over again that they are unscientific and subjective and a failed academic subject doesn’t actually convince me so much as it makes me feel like I am being pressured to beat a straw man. I’d like to agree with you because I can see how right you are, not because your conviction is so strong that your enemies must be my enemies. So being able to review the source material (to the extent that’s my idea of a good time) would be really helpful. It may actually be that I agree with you already, that you’ll mention some names or works and I’ll say “Oh, god, that shit is awful!” But at the moment I honestly don’t feel like I have a good handle on who or what you’re talking about.
So, can you point out to me on this doll where the bad theory touched you? And then show me their mug shots and let me read their rap sheets? Or, more literally, give me some names and texts to be appropriately appalled by on my own terms?(edited)
Oh i forgot to comment on habermas
I consider his work an attempt to rationalize the Frankfurt school so it can be coherently used for social science. In the process, he heavily rewrote that work. Its pretty good but not as good as his major rivals. My apologies for using the phrase Critical Theory. I meant to say Critical Race Theory and its cousin in gender. My error in expression caused big confusion here.
Marxist and Pomo Critical Theory had some valid and important observations such that it deserves some academic attention…issue by issue(edited)
** I do know that qn emotional or logical appeal to acadmic validity is meaningless to a non academic or radical. Doesn’t mean my argument is poorly constructed though. Other people with no love of academia hear this all as Ivory Tower “politics” , and dont care if theories are valid or not…. But that is not the conversation I’m having. So we aren’t talking sbout the same issues, if you’re talkung about persuading people right now. My issue is first establishing fact, not persuasion..i can get to persuasion second . The only theory I’ve categorically rejected is that which created radical Intersectionallity. I agree that persuasion is different than qcademic arguments All is good in the hood(edited)
I’m all good with establishing facts, rather than persuading, right now, but that leads me to ask again: can you point me to a specific text or scholar that illustrates what’s wrong with Critical Race Theory? So far I’ve heard complaints that are generic enough (it’s wrong, it’s evil, it’s not scientific) that they can and have been applied to the Frankfurt School, post-modernism, civil rights, the establishment of Title 9, gay marriage, and rock and roll.
Surely someone can point to something specific that, upon inspection, will illustrate what is specifically wrong with it.(edited)
I just proved one of the key hypotheses wrong.
If you want a complete list, that’s a year long research task. Michael Rectenwald might fund me to do it. Perhaps.
If you want a reading list of academic refutations, I can give it. Its under development but there’s a bunch that I have Even better is to refute it directly eith my own Intergral Cycle Theory
I just proved one of the key hypotheses wrong.
@GonzoEthicist Worth writing an article about, or pointing to an article already written..
I prefer a collectively sourced metamodern refutation
Rather than championing postcolonialism, which was all the rage in the anarcho syndicated subcultures of the 1980s
OK…. where does that happen? A wiki?
This is what I need to discuss with him .
BenjaminWYesterday at 11:07 AM
Wait, what? I’m sorry, I think I’ve missed something. How did we get from “Benjamin would like to know some examples of specific texts and authors in this movement you’ve been telling me about” to “Gonzo will need to discuss this project with a foundation to collaborate to possibly get support before that information can be determined?” I mean, collaborative projects are awesome. Get that funding! But … I kind of assumed you already knew which Critical Race Theorists you’d encountered, and which source texts you’d read, which is how you know they are awful. And I’m just asking you to share that information. Do we really need foundation support to build a metamodern multimedia index of refutations, or whatever?
I mean, I can find names of prominent Critical Race Theorists by going to Wikipedia. I can find links to published essays – we have that technology. I just want to know which ones you’re familiar with and are referencing, so that I can get on the same page. Or is this one of those cases where I’ll need a foundation to explain to me why Critical Race Theory is so bad, because if I read it in the original I’d never come to that conclusion myself?
GonzoEthicistYesterday at 7:41 PM
So let me get this straight. Im not allowed to broaden this conversation to answer Naomi’s question…. i am only allowed to answer Benjamin’s questions? I was speaking to Naomi.(edited)
nthmostYesterday at 7:42 PM
OK, imagine that I took the response that was for me and told Benjamin.
This was Benjamin’s response to that information.
GonzoEthicistYesterday at 7:44 PM
These two searches contain the most highly cited books and papers in critical race theory and in intersectionality Rapidly there is a rise of papers published as refutations or critiques of these works. They also appear on these lists.(edited)
One paper worth reading is this one entitled “rethinking intersectionality ” . Wirrtrn by Jennifer Nash in 2007 @ harvard university as a doctoral student of Black American Studies She very carefully questioned whether intersectionality, the primary theory of Critical Race Theory, is actually working as a Theory as it claims, or if it was merely a way to draw attention to black women … and although drawing attention to bpaco women was laudable the way they did it was confusing and opened the door for many bad interpretations of reapity, worse than what we already had in black studies. In other words, this is from an elite black female scholars’ own mouth rather than from mine, but she basically has an identical critique to nearly every other person who encounters intersectionality. But she artfully did it and got away with it.
GonzoEthicistYesterday at 8:13 PM
This is Jennifer Nash, a thinker i quite like In 2019 she wrote the leading black critique book of Intersectional theory …a book I need to read. https://www.afam.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/jennifer-christine-nash.html(edited)
Foxy Boots (Henry)Yesterday at 8:35 PM
Letting go offers new black feminist ways of engaging with intersectionality that enable black feminists to feel otherwise, to unleash black feminist theory’s visionary, world-making possibilities.
Sounds like an interesting take on how to approach the topic more flexibly. From the blurb doesn’t sound like a full-on refutation.
GonzoEthicistYesterday at 8:35 PM
Its not that attitude
Its not trying to sound like a refutation but a constructive reboot with a new tone
On the other hand, scholars outside Nash’s field are also publishing more specific refutations of claims made by crenshaw and others Claims that violate what we already know from sociology, psychology, economics, and other fields with a robust experimental body of empirical evidence . . However these refutations do not include any attacks on the importance of activism or of black women or of social change … The refutations focus on specific errors that needs to be addressed to recover compatibility with mainstream social science …and those are all good things not bad things. Few are attempting to refute black studies or gender studies, only specific errors made within Intersectional research…and the lack of rigor in their woefully biased acsdemicjournals…which can easily be addressed by focusing on methodology fixes
BenjaminWToday at 10:31 AM
Hey, awesome! Thank you! Since there were so many texts on the lists you sent, I figured I’d start with “Critical Race Theory: the key writings that formed the movement,” edited by Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, and Thomas, and see where that takes me. (A scanned PDF version of the book comes up on one of the searches.) . But, to be clear, this would be representative of what you’re talking about?
Actually, though, let me double-check – and I swear I’m not trying to be obtuse, just to get a clear sense of what’s being discussed – your last posts mentioned intersectionality a lot more than Critical Race Theory … is it “Intersectionality,” or “Critical Race Theory” that you object to? Because while Critical Race Theory definitely uses Intersectionality, they’re not the identical. And while I have to investigate Critical Race Theory before I can really know what I’m talking about, there are definitely Intersectional theorists who I think are really worth paying attention to. I don’t agree with everything bell hooks says, for example, but she’s very worth reading. Especially when she makes you uncomfortable.
So I guess what I’m checking in on is whether you’re in fact objecting to Critical Race Theory specifically, or really to Intersectionality generally – and just consider everything Intersectionality touches to be fruit of the poison tree? Because, to me at least, those seem like two very different positions, and I want to make sure I’m talking about one you actually hold. And given what you’ve just been saying it seems, right now, like yours is the latter position.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:24 AM
My claim is that critical race theory, which produced intersectionality theory , was obsolete before it even started. It adds nothing to the analytical and explanatory power of sociology thst came before it. It draws attention to black women and to injustices, but I am assering that the theoies we already had were superior in every way . They were superior in methodology, superior in predictive power, and superior in coherence (explanatory power) jennifer nash challenges the shortcomings of the theory, but she fails to mention the superior theoretical alternatives clearly. Other scholars are doing this. Let me provide you with one immensely superior theory: Bourdieu’s theory of social capital. It’s flat out superior as a theory of true socual reality ….it covers injsustice. It covers complex social identities and relationships. It covers all of the same issues as CRT but provides a predictive science that doesn’t contradict other science as we know know it(edited)
Pierre Bourdieu is the #1 most cited sociologist of all time.
BenjaminWToday at 11:32 AM
I’m not throwing anything out. You literally just mentioned it.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:33 AM
Thst was a rhetorical question not a question for Benjamin
It seems every time i address someone else or speak rhetorically, it throws you off
BenjaminWToday at 11:34 AM
I guess I’m under the impression that we’re having a conversation, not working the room.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:35 AM
You’re losing me
This is an ordinary sort of conversation
Ordinary people occasionally ask rhetorical questions without trying to work a room. I know I’ve done it my entire life
I re read what I wrote. Seems pretty clearly a rhetorical question.
BenjaminWToday at 11:37 AM
Sure, but, you literally just provided a new theory as part of a direct response to a question I asked, and then when I responded said it was a rhetorical question not meant for me. It’s possibly I was being dim here, but, surely you can see why I might have been confused.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:38 AM
I just feel like every tii.e i say anything, you make me justify it as being about you
Its happened like five times
BenjaminWToday at 11:39 AM
I may be an over eager conversationalist. That’s a thing that can happen. But I honestly didn’t get “rhetorical question, not meant for me” from that.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:41 AM
I’m just addressing this situation so it doesn’t keep happening When I speak about academia, I’m not speaking about you or your thoughts. I’m not putting words in your mouth or head. I’m speaking about academic arguments that you didn’t make, but academics made
BenjaminWToday at 11:42 AM
Anyway – I guess I’d just suggest – as a non-rhetorical device to your rhetorical question – that I don’t feel the need for One True Theory. That I’d suggest that the world is complicated enough, and people are complicated enough, that we tend to need multiple approaches to knowledge and culture, and that even contradictory ones can be true at once depending on context. I’m sort of a perspectivalist that way. But I do agree with you that Bourdeiu has a lot to offer. I just don’t think that his having a lot to offer of necessity invalidates approaches that, frankly, focus on subjects that he wasn’t really focusing on. Race being a key example.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:42 AM
So, for example, when I say something like I said above, I’m referring to the critical race theories that threw out mainstream sociology for no good reason
Becuase thst was our topic of conversation
BenjaminWToday at 11:42 AM
Ah, well, you see, I don’t necessarily think they did that. So I suppose that instead of trying to make your rhetorical question about me, I’m challenging your interpretation of facts.
(See my observation above.)
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:43 AM
But they did. They said so themselves
I do not make claims just becuase I loke the sound of my voice. .I’m deadly serious when I state facts about sociology… I’m an academic. We take our business just as seriously as a medical doctor. We don’t claim facts for “shits and giggles”, we are deadly serious when we claim facts. I’m not a politician or op ed writer. I’m an academic. So we mean business.(edited)
BenjaminWToday at 11:45 AM
They said “We are throwing out mainstream sociology for no good reason”? Really? As opposed to something more like “we believe that sociology is not addressing certain key issues, or has certain blind spots?”
Because those are very differet things.
GonzoEthicistToday at 11:45 AM
Yes, they did.
BenjaminWToday at 11:46 AM
All due respect, but academics can be wrong. And often are.
Citation, please? (For where they said that?)
(We know academics can be wrong, among other reasons, because they disagree with each other so often.)
I mean, I think there’s a huge difference between “we’re throwing out all knowledge that has come before,” and what I see a lot of the scholars and movements you’re doing Google Scholar searches on saying, which is “the production of academic and popular knowledge has had significant blind spots and biases which need to be addressed, and part of that is their refusal to adequately address issues like racism. We are attempting to take up that mantel through critique and adding new theoretical apparatuses.” That’s a totally different thing. And while it may lead to wrong conclusions and excesses, I think it’s a very legitimate enterprise. And frankly, that they’re often right.(edited)
GonzoEthicistToday at 12:04 PM
My point is again, benjamin, that people were already doing this kind of justice scholarship before 1987 !!! Crenshaw and her group of friends did not invent black advocacy of feminism or black feminism… What they did was screw it up(edited)
As I mentioned before: Postcolonial critique was over 100 years old …
Critical theory was alive and well when crenshaw and folks decided to defect and form their own clique called critical race theory And they did it specifically for the reasons that Jennifer Nash mentioned…because they wanted to say whatever the fuck they wanted in poetry or anecdotal format without any rigor or scientific evidence or true theorizing ….read the Nash article… totally jettisoned the body of knowledge we had… And this was a uniquely bad example of scholarship that was only allowed to exist because nobody wanted to tell black women scholars they were wrong . Nesrly anyone who tried to oppose them was bullied and terrorized. Administration and other scholarly theorists were told that getting in the way if Intersectional theory was itself racist and sexist . .so they were free to ignore rigor. We have an epidemic of people not understanding how bad this really is… and the only eat to solve it is to read very carefully what is wrong with CRT…. and how its the most racist and sexist theory since Nazism….. it obligates everyone to see the wrold from the perspective of their racial and gender group as a whole at all times, qnd labels white and male people as oppositional to all good people
BenjaminWToday at 12:47 PM
Three thoughts and I’ll try to keep this really quick to try and avoid escalating:
1) I keep asking for the reference of where they say these things. Point me to the text so that I can also see how bad it is. If you give me a google search result of texts, I might very well miss it. I’m looking for the specific citations of where it gets so bad.
2) It seems clear to me that while indeed there had been critiques of colonialism going as far back as, well, colonialism, that by the late 1980s there was still a lot of work to do. Just a look at a the quantitative data alone concerning outcomes for minorities in and out of academia strongly indicates that even if the existing critiques were correct, they weren’t doing the job. So I don’t see why we’d find attempts at generating new approaches, and re-evaluating salient evidence, to be a bad thing. Which doesn’t mean any given effort is right, just that I don’t see why we would assume that they were done in bad faith. I mean, this is how knowledge advances. Hell, the fact that much of science is now going through a crisis of replication doesn’t mean we say all science is bad or even conducted in bad faith (although some social scientists were clearly in fact faking results). The same thing applies here. Look, I’ve had to be the guy who’s told PhD students “you can’t submit a poem for publication in this online journal, we’re trying to be taken seriously.” So I get the frustration. It drove me nuts. And some of those students have gone on to be obnoxious and self-important overly woke Doctors. But it doesn’t mean that they were always wrong. And it doesn’t mean that traditional scholarship hasn’t also produced self-important windbags of entitlement who not only publish jargon laden garbage but also sexually harass their grad students, quietly refuse to hire minorities, and then blow hard in the faculty lounge about how this younger generation really doesn’t respect scholarship. I don’t want to be on their side, either. I wouldn’t say they’re as bad as Nazis – no, I would not say that at all – but, they’re pretty terrible.
3) It’s on the one hand important to respect expertise, but on the other hand not think that academic credentials mean more than they do, particularly in cases of scholarly knife fights. Let us remember that many of the people who you are calling out as ruining academia are in fact legitimately credentialed academics, often with even better credentials than you or me. The fact that Critical Race Theory emerged out of Harvard and that Harvard Law holds conferences on Critical Race Theory means precisely that when you object to it, you are saying that “despite your credentials, you are dead wrong.” Your argument is precisely that people with PhD’s might not know what they’re talking about.
GonzoEthicistToday at 12:48 PM
My argument is, indeed, that if snyone really wants to understand this conversation thoroughly, there is no shortcut. Don’t ask me for a shortcut. If you want to deeply understand what going on, read what I sent you. I can give you a longer reading list if you want. But you gotta at least read the basics You may need to read about 1000 pages.(edited)
You eould need to read the state of the literature before CRT to know what we already had , read the actual CRT scholars to see where they went wrong , and then Read the rebuttals by great scholars as to why they are wrong. Everyone from noam chomsky to Jennifer nash has published rebuttals Ita rapidly becoming the number one topic in the world to argue about(edited)
Sadly, everyone wants to trust CRT without reading
What youre not hearing from me, I think…so I repeat: This is the single most controversial topic in academia in the last 100 years. Don’t simplify it . Its really that hairy and convoluted… its the only example I can think of where qn entire subfield of research is scientifically invalid and yet spreading lome wildfire. I’m not asking you to believe me on faith. I did nothing of the sort. I implored you to read through all of it.(edited)
MakiToday at 4:27 PM
At risk of inserting myself into my an academic debate that I have no interest in (I approach academia as a gateway to experience not a grail of truth, and fundamentally regard reality as fluid, weird, and infinite), I’d like to suggest that “right/wrong, valid/invalid” is an overly blunt tool for a nuanced discussion and a more helpful tool might instead be “CRT offers useful lenses in these circumstances and becomes more fucked than useful as you approach _ boundary”. Or better yet, “this is a specific subpoint of it that I think is problematic, here is an experience to seek out in which you can dance with that pocket of reality and see how many different ways you can perceive that experience”
(Feel free to disregard my suggestions if they’re woefully out of touch – not interested in joining intellectual debate, just felt compelled to drop a few UDP packets into the conversation and see if they evolve into anything)(edited)
GonzoEthicistToday at 7:55 PM
I am deeply saddened that nobody is actually interested in the most important academic debate of our lives…. by novody, I mean the 98 percent of people who think Academic conversation is unimportant. (Nothing personal maki, im not trying to start a fight with anyone here!! ) This all came from qcademia. That where this chaos startedAnd yet everyone seems deeply interested in the political debate based on this academic debate, which itself is impossible to resolve without objective science.
The only reason critical race theory broke off from the rest of Academia was specifically to invalidate mainstream science for political reasons. They say so themselves in their early writings.
The Enlightenment happened in Academic circles. The Protestant reformation did. The woke virus did. These things all start in, and are resolved in, academic literature
It’s kinda bizarre how many people catrgorically reject science as important but love politics based on propagandizing that science.
This isn’t an insult, but a huge sigh. The exact reason we are in this situation is becuase noboby cares about the only solution. Objectivity, based on being fully informed. And thats exactly how science ends and politics tears the world to shreds. Nero fiddles while Rome burns qnd eveyone asks:”whats in it for me? And my tribe?”
This is the plight of being a social scientist in a world that rejects science becuase its inconvenient….
Of course I care because I encrusted and steeped my entire life in becoming as informed as possible….thats why I entered academia …
Of course others don’t care because they didn’t prioritize that in their lives. But sometimes we gotta be good citizens and give science a chance(edited)
This is the paper I was stressing earlier. Nash’s challenge of Intersectionallity, which is the #1 most cited black scholarship paper that wuestions it
Foxy Boots (Henry)Today at 8:47 PM
@GonzoEthicist I’ve been watching this discussion as I’ve warmed back up to engaging. I honestly have no idea what discussion you expect people to join. Aside from a miscalibration in his first comments, which he acknoweldged, @BenjaminW has made what seems like a sincere go of it to me.
Yet you’ve responded to attempts to get to a specific debatable point in impractical ways:
* Asserting without detail that you “just proved one of the key hypotheses wrong”
* Saying that you’d need funding for a year to research and answer that
* Asking for a “collectively source metamodern refutation” – I almost asked if that would be on wikipedia but @nthmost beat me to it.
* Something about discussing something with someone at a foundation
* Answered with two search lists that “contain the most highly cited books” but no guidance on what is important to you
* One admittedly interesting academic in Jennifer Nash- sincerely, thank you.
* More “evils of the theory,” but no explanations, just assertions of how bad it is and how it adds nothing etc. etc.
* Listing a “superior theory” with what was essentially a marketing blurb rather than engage-able points
* This “I do not make claims just becuase I loke the sound of my voice. .I’m deadly serious when I state facts about sociology…” I guess we’re supposed to accept your “facts” b/c you’re an academic? But they’re not stated in a way that facilitates discussion.
* Assertion that we need to read 1000 pages of research and THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS Y
You set up a discord server and invited non-academics. Yet you demand that we gain many hours of academic knowledge before you will discuss with us. Or we’re just supposed to accept your assertions?
I don’t see any possibility of discussion here. I see demands for agreement or for way too much investment. No willingness to meet the people invited where we are. Or even halfway. I’ll be seeing myself out
GonzoEthicistToday at 9:13 PM
You never started to engage so I can’t possibly start to engage with you I’m not trying to spoonfeed anyone. I asked people to at least read one thing before we go any further.(edited)
No offense but I qsked you sic times to have a conversation by voice. You refuse. So we are at an impasse
Foxy Boots (Henry)Today at 9:15 PM
Because I watched how badly it went with Benjamin. It took you several days to produce an identifiable thing to read. Which, btw, I am hunting to see if it’s in a database to which I have access as I don’t have Sagepub.
No, we’re not at an impasse. I simply don’t find anything useful here. Good luck with whatever you’re trying to do.
GonzoEthicistToday at 9:15 PM
Hey, I posted reams of information. You heckled. .
Foxy Boots (Henry)Today at 9:16 PM
I did. And I will own that. I’m quite happy to leave my statement up against your behavior throughout this thread.
GonzoEthicistToday at 9:17 PM
I stand by my behavior as being decent. Honorable, and academically valid. You refused to engsge. Not my problem Stop heckling if you’re not interested.
1) either read the true sources
2) or engage in a full verbal conversation where it is possible to have a much more thorough and useful conversation or
3) exit and let other people do 1) or 2)
That’s my suggestion You have shown that you not only aren’t willing to engage , but that you refuse to either read or talk, which are the only two ways to become better informed.
The number of sources about this issue are large. Very. It is not my task to spoonfeed at depth.
Professors don’t do that. We lead horses to water. They don’t have to drink.
I’d you wanted to show good faith you eould read the article by Jennifer nash. Everyone in this debate beds to know the terms of the debate qnd nobody wants to hear my opinion. So read jennifer nash if you dare engage.(edited)
GonzoEthicistToday at 9:27 PM
Btw, look at the these top books on Amazon. Everyone else is reading the second hand version of the literature now…so You might want to consider more carefully reading the first hand sources.(edited)
Henry just put me on trial and found me guilty, without engaging, even though I literally extended opportunities for a private conversation on this topic multiple times in the past few months…i was already over it…and that’s unfortunate that he needs to tell me that reading core literature isn’t a solution…and my personal character… are to him insufficient to warrant his time and effort. But he took time out of his day to TELL me he refuses rather than just ignore me. Thats a thoughtcrime guilty verdict if ever I saw one.
Seven attempts to converse….failed…becuase he refuses to play by the rules of sincerity.(edited)
BenjaminWToday at 1:31 AM
And thus, oh Athens, concludes our tragedy of the fall of Metagenesis, whose meme-filled spires did but briefly rise up into the heavens. For though its king, the GonzoEthicist, was an academic and therefore a scientist and therefore serious and therefore correct in his every utterance and search term, yet did he wish for perfect Objectivity. And so he offered the Goddess of Alchemy a collectively sourced metamodern refutation. This pleased her, for wikis are blessed in her sight. But in his hubris, did GonzoEthicist cast aspersions upon her mortal muses and admirers, claiming that by questioning his utterances they violated the Rules of Sincerity set down by mighty Bourdieu the Thunderer, and that they rejected science by asking for evidence. This angered the Goddess, and so Benjamin, Answerer of Rhetorical Questions, did open the gates to the sea beneath the foundations of Metagenesis while Henry, Heckler of the Underworld, led the Goddess’ people away, leaving Metagenesis to sink to the bottom of the ocean. And GonzoEthicist stood upon its tallest channel, shaking his fist at the heavens, shouting ‘Everyone from Noam Chomsky to Jennifer Nash has published rebuttals!” as his kingdom crumbled, and all of science was forever lost. And the Gods once again laughed at the folly of intellectuals.
So ends our play.
GonzoEthicistToday at 1:58 AM
Correct in every utterance? fuck you.
I stopped reading there. I’m here for serious issues and I’m being embarrassed and heckled for sport.
Ok fine. Fuck education. Fuck being wise. Fuck being objective. Fuck me, most of all, for caring. Goodbye all.
Thanks for coming into this serious conversation just to heckle me. You painted me this way? Thanks indeed. I didnt ask it of you.(edited)
Me: metagenesis starts with making peace with science You: fuck that guy and make him cry. Ok.
This is now the channel of Benjamin, who came here to love no one, to build nothing, a d only to make fun of the very innocent idea of building something of value and meaning as an anarchistic group.
If you mist kick a puppy dog, why did you choose this puppy dog to kick and wound? Do you love torturing innocent people eho work hard to build anarchistic systems ?
Have fun amusing yourself. You are no friend of mine.
You run this channel. I’m done with it. Anyone else want to talk to Benjamin about wokeness, he’s your guy. He came here to bulld not break….he’s not breaking acidity or science or morality. He’s building. So go ahead. Build Benjamin. Show me your capabilities .
I captured the debate (well, “debate”) as text because I wanted to send it in an email to a friend who I knew would get a kick out of it. Thus my record of the conversation ends here.
After this text was written, Maki left a comment that “Wow, this arc is really 21st century Shakeperare.”
Nthmost briefly returned to the conversation, writing that she didn’t believe GonzoEthicists understood how to develop an anarchaist community, and that he had to know that this sort of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated in the academy either. She then left the channel.
GonzoEthicist then wrote that the trio of Benjamin, Henry, and Naomi, had utterly rejected science, and deleted the whole channel. To my knowledge, this (and the email I sent my friend) is the only remaining record of these events. Well … “events.”